Maryland Apartment Fire: Three Dead, Site of Explosion Identified

Monkey Business/Thinkstock(SILVER SPRING, Md.) — Three of the seven people who died in an Aug. 10 apartment explosion in Silver Spring, Maryland have been identified, according to the Montgomery County Police Department.

Saul Paniagua, 65, Maria Auxiliadorai Castellon-Martinez, 53, and Augusto Jimenez Sr., 62 died during the incident.

Two of these victims were found close to each other, but the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service did not reveal which two.

The site of the explosion was the meter room, directly below one of the apartments, according to Daniel Ward, special agent in charge at the Baltimore Division of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosions (ATF).

The blast and three-alarm fire at the Flower Branch Apartments late Wednesday night left at least 34 people with injuries, including three firefighters. Some 100 residents from 28 apartments in two buildings were forced to evacuate, according to Montgomery County Fire Department spokesman Pete Piringer.

One building at the complex suffered structural collapse, several others were damaged and storefront windows across the street were shattered. Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service division chief David Steckel said the building still presents a “collapse hazard” to investigators and rescue crews, and that hot weather has made their working conditions difficult.

The National Transportation Safety Board has taken over the lead of the investigation.

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